The London Police Service (LPS) has put out a news release explaining that there has been an increase in counterfeit $50 and $100 bills — but these are not just ordinary banknotes. 

People are being warned that these fake banknotes mimic those from the 1969-79 "Scenes of Canada" series. They have not been in circulation in 38 years but people are trying to pass these off as completely normal, nothing-to-see-here tender. 

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Take this $20 banknote from the series featuring Queen Elizabeth II: Liz has not looked that good in literally decades. She would have only been 43 when this portrait was first placed on our bank series — although let's be honest, she looks great for 43.

These witty wizards of counterfeit sorcery are producing more $50 and $100 bills, however, which feature two long-dead Prime Ministers (William Lyon Mackenzie King and Robert Borden) so it would be harder to distinguish based on their aging process.

The LPS statement notes, "While the style of Canadian currency depicted from the “Scenes of Canada” series are valid bank notes, these bills are currently out of circulation.  As such, retailers should be highly suspicious of any individual who presents these style of bills for payment of a retail purchase."

You'd probably be right to be "highly suspicious." The bills have been redesigned three times since the one being counterfeited was last used:

It'd be like if someone offered you an awesome hand-held Nintendo device — Given that it's 2017, you'd probably expect a Nintendo 3DS — if someone showed up with a Gameboy, you'd be surprised. (Although I loved my Gameboy so nostalgia would set in and I might really enjoy it...not a perfect comparison but you get it.)

The thing is, though, if you're working retail or own a business — you don't have to be duped. While legit non-counterfeited bills from this series are still legal tender, The Bank of Canada says you don't have to take them! 

"This does not force anyone to accept cash because both parties must agree on the payment method. The fact that bank notes are legal tender does not mean that there is a legal obligation to accept them," reads their website. 

So everyone, stay alert! If someone tries to hand you a banknote that looks like something from a time where platform shoes were a thing and people hadn't even heard of Star Wars — just turn them down. 

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Bradley is the digital managing editor for Volume 110 of the Gazette. This is his fourth year on the editorial board, previously working in Opinions, Sports, and Culture. He's a recent graduate with a degree in Canadian-American relations.

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